Ex Libris Kirkland

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Translator Vladimir Nabokov
First Written 1832
Genre Poetry
Origin Russia
Publisher Pantheon
ISBN-10 0691019053
ISBN-13 978-0691019055
My Copy library copy in FOUR VOLUMES!
First Read June 20, 2010

Eugene Onegin

The jury is still out for me on Onegin. I love Russian literature, so it seems only natural that I would love the most famous work of the 'Father of Russian Literature,' right? But I'm stumbling over the "Novel in Verse" thing, and found the whole book a little blah. If anyone has recommendations or advice about how to think about Onegin, please let me know!

Noted on June 20, 2010

A note about the translation: this one, by Vladimir Nabokov, is stellar - and it's the fourth I've tried. (Yes, that's how much I wanted to like this book, picking up four translations!).

The first I found is SO astonishingly bad, I feel like I should warn people. Tom Beck's translation is sing-songy, awkward, and cliched. I should've known when Beck's bio said, "[Beck] learnt Russian so that he could translate Eugene Onegin into English. The result is a masterpiece."

Noted on June 20, 2010

[from Nabokov's commentary]
An artist should ruthlessly destroy his manuscripts after publication, lest they mislead academic mediocrities into thinking that it is possible to unravel the mysteries of genius by studying canceled readings.

Quoted on June 20, 2010

[on the conversation of rustics]
Their reasonable talk
of haymaking, of liquor,
of kennel, of their kin,
no doubt did not sparkle with feeling,
or with poetic fire,
or sharp wit, or intelligence,
or with the art of sociability;
but the talk of their sweet wives was
much less intelligent.

Quoted on June 20, 2010

Ex Libris Kirkland is a super-self-absorbed reading journal made by Matt Kirkland. Copyright © 2001 - .
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